By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja – Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),
says the scheme is working with State Social Health Insurance Scheme (SSHIS) to extend health insurance coverage to informal sector of the population.
Sambo told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that NHIS currently covered enrolees under its formal sector programmes and the voluntary social
health insurance arrangement.
The Formal Sector Programme covered workers in the public sector (Federal Civil Service, Uniformed Services) while the voluntary scheme is under
Voluntary Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme (VCSHIP).
According to him, no fewer than four million are registered under the scheme as population of the enrolees is still growing.
He said that a new scheme had been developed under the National Health Insurance Act called Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF)
for citizens that were not covered under the formal programme.
He explained that “BHPF is where money coming to the NHIS and the money is related to the state health insurance to purchase healthcare services for the defined segment of the nation.’’
He added that NHIS provided support to 17 state governments through the BHPF to enrol their vulnerable citizens, noting that
part of the mandate of the scheme was to support states to establish SSHIS and also provide some fund for them to enrol vulnerable population.
He said “but if you look at what is required to provide services, even the contribution from the national healthcare insurance as laudable as it is, will not cover majority segment.
“It will not cover those vulnerable segments of the population.
“ So, a lot has to be done through innovative financing healthcare mechanism so as to get more funding to cover those who are uncovered in the national health insurance scheme.
“This is not an easy task but we are facing it squarely to develop the matrix, to bring all the stakeholders on board to be able to do appropriate costing.
“The stakeholders need do appropriate costing that will be required to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and determine how money will be sourced to cover the entire population.”
In addition, Sambo said, stakeholders could adopt the Health Insurance Under One Roof concept as veritable tool for the attainment of UHC in the country.
Health Insurance Under One Roof is an initiative aimed at ensuring that health insurance operates under one system with proper coordination and unified data to reduce bottlenecks in service delivery.
This is in line with the expectations and objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Presidential Mandate and particularly the Health Sector Next Level Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The concept is designed to provide a coordinating and regulating framework for the implementation of health insurance in Nigeria, thereby bringing to an end the fragmentation of the past in a decentralised ecosystem.
It will bring an end to fragmentation of the past which militated against tangible progress in rapid enrolee uptake toward Universal Health Coverage.